01/09/2009 By Shawn Burns

Have I ever told you about the old cavalry saber my father had hanging in the living room?

I invaded two countries with that sword.

After my parents separated and my father left, my mother and sister and I moved off the rez into the the smelly little industrial town across the river. I was thirteen and I stopped cutting my hair and I skateboarded and I smoked and I had an earring and I wore a jean jacket with buttons on it that said stupid things. I still had the cavalry saber. It was a token, protection, symbolic. It was my father’s. It was mine.

One night I drew the saber and walked into the living room of our basement apartment. The tip of the blade went against the throat of the sleeping sack of shit on the couch, the drunk piece of white trash who had somehow entered our lives.

I stood there over his body and faced my eternities. Some choices are weightless. Other choices are endless.

“You breathe now because I permit it.” And I went back to my room.